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Press Release: North American biz will spend $84 million on marathons & triathlons

Posted Nov 05 2008 7:05am

Money Chicago, IL-- North American-based companies will spend an estimated $84 million to sponsor marathons, triathlons, 10Ks and other running events this year, up 8.4 percent from $77.5 million in '07, according to IEG Sponsorship Report, the world's leading authority on sponsorship.

While the increase is down from last year's 14 percent increase, the affluent demographics of runners and triathletes continue to attract new players to the sport.

"Unlike many other types of properties that are struggling due to the weak economy, corporate interest in marathons and other types of running events remains high due to the sports' desirable demographics," said William Chipps, IEG Sponsorship Report's senior editor.

Case in point: Next month's ING New York City Marathon brought on four new corporate partners this year including Diamond Foods, Inc.'s Emerald Nuts, The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.'s The Food Emporium and hearing aid manufacturer Widex USA, Inc.

The companies are providing valuable promotional support for the event through their off-site activation programs. For example, The Food Emporium this month ran a three-week in-store promotion with Asics Corp., Emerald and other sponsors that offered shoes and other sponsor prizes. The retailer touted the promotion in a circular and through in-store displays.

In addition to its location and status as one of the world's major marathons, the New York City Marathon credits its sponsorship success in part to positioning itself as a sports and entertainment event offering proprietary programming that sponsors can claim ownership to.

Case in point: Continental Airlines, Inc.'s sponsorship includes title of the marathon's International Friendship Run.

Other recent deals in the marathon space include CIGNA Corp.'s presenting sponsorship of Walt Disney World Marathon; Foot Locker, Inc. presenting Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend on behalf of its Lady Foot Locker retail brand; BP plc's sponsorship of Washington, D.C.'s Marine Corps Marathon; and Verizon Wireless' sponsorship of the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio Marathon & 1/2 Marathon.

Those deals follow partnerships signed earlier this year between Nissan North America, Inc. and USA Track & Field and 10 endurance events (IEG SR, July 14, 2008).

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